NORMAN, Okla. -- It wasn't long after Connecticut topped Kentucky in Monday's national title game before national media outlets began releasing the first versions of their 2014-15 preseason rankings.
To nobody's surprise, Lon Kruger's Sooners are well represented. Oklahoma was No. 21 in the final AP poll this season (finished 23-10 overall and was an NCAA Tournament No. 5 seed) and is scheduled to return 73 percent of its scoring next season, 75 percent of its rebounding and 88 percent of its assists.
Here's a breakdown of where the Sooners appear in several projections for next season:
No. 11 by NBCSports.com
No. 12 by LostLettermen.com
Quotable: "Lon Kruger returns four of five starters from a rather surprising Big 12 runner-up squad, including his leading scorer (Hield) and rebounder (Spangler). Hield will also have some help in the backcourt from Cousins and Woodard, who are only entering their junior and sophomore seasons, respectively."
No. 16 by CBSSports.com
No. 19 by BleacherReport.com
Quotable: "Cameron Clark (15.6 points, 5.5 rebounds) is the only key player graduating from a team that surprised everyone by going 23-10 and finished second in Big 12 play. Guard Buddy Hield (16.5 points) can break an opponent down off the dribble. Don’t be surprised if he becomes a national name in 2014-15. Also, keep an eye on Ryan Spangler, who averaged 9.6 points and 9.3 rebounds after transferring from Gonzaga. Oklahoma could be one of the biggest threats to break Kansas' run of 10 straight Big 12 titles.
"This unit has been together for a year now and will be hungry after losing its round-of-64 game against North Dakota State. Legendary coach Lon Kruger has all the ingredients he needs for a strong season."
No. 20 by ESPN.com
Quotable: "Oklahoma has been ahead of the typical rebuilding schedule almost from the moment Lon Kruger took over as coach. Next season, the Sooners have a chance to take another step. Buddy Hield, Jordan Woodard, Isaiah Cousins and Ryan Spangler all return to a team that finished in the top 20 in adjusted offensive efficiency, and the loss of second-leading scorer Cameron Clark should be offset by the addition of top-100 power forward Dante Buford and lanky four-star center Khadeem Lattin. The Sooners are adding a ton of size to a skilled offensive team. If they perk up even a smidge defensively, be forewarned."
No. 21 by USAToday.com
Quotable: "After the Sooners were upset by North Dakota State in the second round of this year's NCAA tournament, NDSU coach Saul Phillips bluntly stated in a postgame interview, "This team will be good next year." Indeed. Oklahoma loses one of its top players in Cameron Clark but brings back four more starters. Buddy Hield (16.5 ppg) returns after a breakout sophomore season, and joining him in the backcourt next year will be classmate Isaiah Cousins (11.0 ppg) and point guard Jordan Woodard (10.3 ppg, 4.6 apg). Forward Ryan Spangler (9.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg) will be a double-double machine in 2014-15."